Wednesday, February 15, 2012

8-14 February, 2012 Chimney Cleaning and Winter Fun

I've been concentrating on my writing lately so I haven't been doing a lot of projects outside.  Susan has been changing rooms around to get a downstairs bedroom ready for Scott when he's old enough.  It's been kind of a chore for her because Scott's crib is in her room where she has to do a lot of the work. The only time she (or me) can get anything done is when Scott is either asleep or one of us is watching him.  We've begun putting him down for his nap in the playpen in the living room so she can get tings done in her bedroom.  Plus, she has the extra laundry to keep up with.  We're explaining ... not complaining!  We love having the little guy here but it's made some changes in the way we do things. 

I decided to clean the chimney this week.  We haven't really had any problems or symptoms of a dirty chimney but it's been awhile since I twas cleaned so I did it anyway.  (Usually the stove doesn't draw well and you get a cloud of smoke when you open the stove door to add more wood. when the chimney needs cleaned.)  Scott heard the ruckus and wanted to see what was going on so Susan brought him upstairs where he could watch through the window.

We have a brush mounted on a piece of conduit.  We have a short rubber hose between the brush and rod to give the brush a little flexibility.  It stays straighter in the chimney that way.  Of course the chimney has to be cold which means we have to let the stove cool off a bit.  There isn't much creosote in the chimney.  It's mostly just ash residue.  Creosote is a black sticky, and either fuzzy looking or looks like flaky stuff on the inside of the chimney.  It's gooey when you try to clean it out so I wear old leather gloves for this part.  Creosote build-up is often the result of burning green wood or filling the stove and letting is smolder for hours.  Our wood is dry and we like to keep a small hot fire rather than let is smolder all day so we seldom have a problem with creosote. Again, what you're seeing in the chimney dry ash. 

I take the top pipe off and run the brush through the chimney a few times.  I'll run it through the top pipe after this to knock out any accumulation there.  It's a lot like running a brush through the bore of a rifle.

We're also putting in a chimney damper this time so I'll need to remove a section of pipe.

I measured down on one side and drilled a hole, then measured around the pipe and marked/drilled another hole on the opposite side.

The damper installed in the pipe.  What this does is restrict the flow of exhaust out of the chimney.  That slows the air flow through the chimney and gives you a little more control over the intensity of the fire in the stove.  If you close it to much though you'll smoke up the house.

Now I put the pipe back on and put in three screws around the seam to hold it all together.  The reason for the screws is in case something explodes in the stove it won't blow the pipes apart.  If that happened it could cause a bit of a problem in the house.

Anytime you clean the chimney there's a mess to clean up around the stove.  I cleaned the inside out and Susan gave the outside area around the stove a good cleaning.  It's hard to keep up with the outside cleaning in the winter because the stove is going most of the time and you can't work close around it without getting burned.

We're trying to get Scott used to sleeping outside of his crib so that we can take him backpacking this summer.  About the only places he'll sleep good is in his playpen and crib.  We have no intention of bringing his crib when we backpack in somewhere so we're trying to get him initiated to crib less sleep now.  It took him awhile to settle down but he eventually did and slept well.

Susan spends quite a bit of time each week doing laundry.  Scott loves playing in the water but this time decided he wanted to help agitate the cloths.  He was doing it by himself just before I got the camera out then he just wanted to look at the camera.

Susan was outside shoveling some snow and when she put the shovel down Scott wanted to give it a try.  Obviously he didn't move much snow but ya' gotta' give him an "A" for effort!

Exercise can be a problem in winter so Susan brought in her stair-stepper.  It had been inside before we got Scott then we had to move it out because we needed the space for other things.  Now it's back inside where she can use it.  Scott had to do a safety check before he let her on it.

We went bowling again this week.  (Don't look at the scores!!!!)

It was too warm for good skiing or snowshoeing so we got the sled out.  Obviously there's no sound in a still photograph but Scott was already going "whee, whee, whee," before we even started down the hill.

Scott with the monkey trap.  He'd dropped something in the empty syrup bottle and was trying to get it out.  He'd get a grip on it the couldn't pull his hand out.  He was getting pretty frustrated before he figured out that he should dump the wood block out of the bottle first then pick it up.

One of the kids in Kalispell had a leaking hot-water heater so we drove down to help fix it.  It turned out that a hose clamp had broken so the repair was cheap (which was good) but frustrating.  The hose was old and stiff and we had a hard time getting it to seal.  Susan had taken Scott over to his mom's so that they could visit while Tim and I fixed the water leak. When we were finished we met at Pizza Hut for dinner.  Scott's dad was at work but his mom was there so it was Scott, his mom, his uncle (who had the water leak), Susan and I.  Emily tried to get him to color but he was more interested in crayons as a food group.

While we were in Kalsipell we went to a couple of stores and bought Scott some rubber boots for outside.  (Kid's boots cost more than the same type boot for adults!  Yikes!)  We stopped at the Salvation Army Thrift Store and bought a reel mower for $24.75 and found a three wheel stroller for Scott.  It was about $55.00 but we had a $5.00 off coupon and "Seniors" get 20 percent off on Tuesdays which brought the price to under $40.00.  We snatched it up!

While in Kalispell we stopped at another daughter's house to see her and the grand kids.  The kids were busy playing a game of Mouse Trap.   

Scott likes walking outdoors and doesn't often want any "help."  This is one time he thought Grandpa needed some assistance so he held my hand to keep me steady on the uneven ground as we walked out to explore the wood shed.

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